In the frigid, sea-swept coasts of the north and the rocky, infertile plateaus of the southeast, the Norn flourish and rule. To survive the harsh environments they have chosen they must stand shoulder to shoulder, folk holding steadfast.

These are a people who rejoice in battle, facing every threat with their heads held high. They face every challenge and every foe with undaunted courage, for their people have faced far worse and come through the other side. The Norn are as hard as the lands that have formed them, testing their blades and courage against all comers.

Five Things to Remember About Norn

  • A Good Day to Die
    • In the lands where the Norn dwell, death is an ever-present specter. Even during the reign of the Empire, the badlands and frozen north were still home to the monsters and dangers that the legions could not eradicate. Thus, every Norn knows, that this dawn may be their last, and they strive to make their ends worthy of song and useful to their clans.
  • The Land Does Not Bleed
    • The Norn are as implacable and unwavering as the land that they call home. Not injury, not age, only mortal death stops a Norn.
  • Deeds, Not Words
    • Liars are the worst kind of blasphemers, they speak against the truth of the Great Tapestry of Fate, and the skein of each man’s life. Likewise, a man’s value is determined not by what he says or the promises he speaks, but by the deeds of his life and the actions he chooses to do. Do not suffer a liar or a deceiver; cast them out into the Land.
  • A Culture Divided
    • They have large population centers in both the north of Brittanis and the south. The initial migrations from the continent of Caledor to the distant east brought the ancestors of the Norn in great ships that landed on the eastern coasts of Brittanis. Some ended up in the north, and others in the south, but all have maintained their enduring tenacity and culture.
  • The Vorfaren
    • Every Norn, regardless of political affiliation, traces their ancestry back to one of the mythical 6 ancestors of their people-- referred to as The Vorfaren-- who were, according to oral tradition, captains of the ships that brought the Norn to Brittanis in ancient times. The Vorfaren transcend other boundaries, so Norn on opposite sides of a conflict often find themselves facing someone who traces their line back to the same Vorfaren.  
      • The 6 Vorfaren of the Norn are believed to collectively embody the Heroic Virtues. Norn seek to emulate their Vorfaren in many ways.  
        • Sylgrid: Humility and Industry; preferred weapon: Bow
        • Kollbjorn: Defense and Etiquette; preferred weapon: Sword
        • Arnborr: Hospitality and Piety; preferred weapon: Spear
        • Grimnir: Dignity and Loyalty; preferred weapon: Long Ax
        • Hjallgern: Nobility and Justice; preferred weapon: Mace
        • Orvir: Courage and Resolve; preferred weapon: Dual Short Axes

Norn Archetypal Heroic Virtues

(NOTE: These are not required for a player to take; these are simply the most common virtues among the Norn culture.)

  • RESOLVE is a common virtue for Norn because living in the harshest regions of Brittanis, they have learned to face adversity with strength
  • COURAGE is a common virtue for Norn because the sagas of the ancient Norn teach that acknowledging fear but taking action anyway can open up new vistas to explore
  • DEFENSE is a common virtue for Norn because their culture puts great stock in maintaining the integrity, safety, and freedom of their community

There are various burial sites for the Vorfaren all across Brittanis. None are confirmed beyond scholarly contestation. Some Norn even believe that the Vorfaren left the mortal plane to return when most needed by their people. 

Clothing & Kit

NOTE: There are no body type, height/weight, hair color or skin color descriptions for any of the ancestries in Brittanis. Clothing and kit are the way to demonstrate and roleplay your Ancestry. This is intentional. Play what you want to play.

  • Ancestry band: Norns must wear an Ancestry band of white fabric with a red stripe. These must be worn on the left forearm and may not be less than 3 inches wide.
  • Kit 
    • Styles: Saxons, Medieval Scandinavians, Skyrim, Rohirrim: 
      • Long, thigh-length tunic is the most common garment, whether working or fighting. This is worn over fitted trousers or hose, usually with high boots to fend off the terrain. Sometimes an undershirt of linen or cotton will be worn. Tunic length often goes past the knees, and soft shoes can be worn instead of boots  
      • Women often wear fitted floor-length dresses with wide sleeves. Intricate rope or chain belts are often worn at the hips, and medallion belts are common for the upper classes.
        • Decorative aprons are frequently worn over the primary gown,and are likewise decorated and embroidered and embellished.
      • See the Norn Pinterest Boards HERE for inspiration.
      • Colors: Forest Greens, Mustard Yellows, Dusty Blues, and Deep Reds. Cream and Pale versions of above colors for under garments. 
      • Embroidery and fabric trim on the collar and cuffs, and other ornamentation is key, even for one of modest means. When your life may be cut short, go to your death looking your best.
      • Norn clothes aren’t complete without a bit of fur somewhere. 
      • Leather, Metal, Wool. For higher-status characters, higher quality material, leathers and fabrics are appropriate.
    • Weapons and Shields: Bearded axes and short-headed spears are the most common weapons. Upper class warrior and heavy troops often wield wide-bladed broadswords as well, suitable for cleaving through mail and shearing the thick hides of monsters. Blunt weapons are rare, but Norn are famous for their use of vicious spiked maces and morningstars. Archers are valued among the Norn, but usually the lighter skirmishing troops use those weapons. 
      • Shields are thick, round, and fast, excellent for intensive ground fighting. Made of aged and treated wood with a metal rim, Norn shields are often decorated with animal motifs or in the colors of their Allegiance.
    • Armor: There are two distinct modes of Norn Armor, depending on the wearer’s function in battle. 
      • Heavy troops wear scalemail over a full hauberk of chain, or metal plates strategically placed and reinforced with leather to maintain flexibility.
      • Lighter troops wear leather armor in scale or reinforced designs.

Personality 

The Norn thrive in their harsh regions by being even more stubborn and tenacious than the lands that spawned them. Such an unforgiving land, however, does not mean that the Norn share solely those traits. They love jokes, games, riddles, rhyming contests, and song, as well as the epic tales of the skalds and poets of their history and deeds. The telling of tales around the fire and at the feast table accompanied by boisterous laughter is common. 

Honor is paramount to Norn and all their actions have this in mind. To be without honor is intolerable. To question or insult one’s honor will certainly result in a challenge.

Life Span

Norn glory in battle and many would be happy to have the prestige of dying on the battlefield, but they do not foolishly or recklessly seek death, for there is no skill or honor in dying easily. Those who survive the war against time do not usually live past 70. 

Naming Convention 

  • Norn names tend to sound Anglo-Saxon in style, but are typically made up of a combination of a distinct set of sounds. Two syllables is most common, but Jarls (Norn Lords) and highborn families sometimes use more than two. https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/barbarian-names.php
  • While many Norn customs and traditions are virtually unchanged between the North and South, one of the differences between the regions is the naming convention. 
    • Northern Norn tend to use -sson and -dottir, meaning “son of” and “daughter of”. Which parent a Norn chooses to name themself after is a personal choice, and is usually chosen during a rite of adulthood. 
      • Example: a male Norn named Bjorn whose parents were Ulf and Lagertha could name himself “Bjorn Ulfsson” or “Bjorn Lagerthasson.” 
      • A female Norn named Blaise whose parents were named Max and Freja could be “Blaise Maxdottir” or “Blaise Frejadottir.” 
    • Southern Norn do not use the sson/dottir nomenclature. Instead, they use the article “Von” followed by the location of their birth, usually followed by their Allegiance or Faction name.  
      • Example: Bjorn, had he been born in the south in a community named Sighvar, would be “Bjorn von Sighvar of Malagant”
      • Blaise, born in the same location, might be “Blaise von Sighvar of Malagant” and so on. 
    • All Norn, when using formal titles and introductions, refer to their Vorfaren, using the terminology “of the Line of [Vorfaren Name].” 
      • Northern Norn might be “Bjorn Ulfsson of Estregales, of the line of Sylgrid” 
      • Southern Norn might be “Blaise von Sighvar of Malagant, of the line of Arnborr” 


Religion

  • The White Court has a foothold in Malagant, but only due to the diligent efforts of the priests of Dagmar, Emrys, and Ghorn, whose temperament matches that of the Norn. Many Norn from the southern region pray to one of these three gods due to the strong influence of the Court in the heartland.
  • The Norn have a long-standing tradition of worshipping Rhaine, the goddess of Fate and Death. Her name is a common battle cry amongst Norn warriors. The vast majority of Norn, particularly those from Orkenay and Lyonesse pay their respects to her.
  • Many Norn clans also pay homage to the Primal Spirits, represented by a Druid, Shaman, or other member of the Fyerna allied with them. These liaisons between the spirits and the mortal world serve in the same role as tribal priests for the clans who follow those traditions. 
  • The Norn see the gods, fae, demons and primal spirits as all the same, and believe that during the creation of the world they all created the The Great Tapestry of Fate together, part of why Norn take what they feel is right from all faiths and realms.
  • Norn have their own name for the Realm of Rhaine. Oandlig Strid, land of Eternal Battle.They believe that when they die, they will join their ancestors and families in the Eternal Battle that rages in her Realm. The Norns love of battle ties into this belief. They view their mortal life as a training ground. 
    • A Norn who dies without a weapon or token of their path in hand, they will not join their ancestors in Oandlig Strid.

Hospitality:

Norn assume hospitality lasts until the next dawn. Beyond that, a host is free to extend an offer of continued hospitality or expel any unwanted guests. 

Like all cultures, the Norn use hospitality as a means of collective self-preservation. Knowing that you have at least shelter awaiting you at the nearest settlement, regardless of whether they end up as friends or enemies, facilitates travel and trade in a monster-haunted landscape.

Many Norn, regardless of personal faith, believe that the Three Sisters wove the skein of each person’s life into a thread and wove that thread into the Great Tapestry of Fate, and each person’s life is predestined from start to finish. 

Thus Norn will welcome you in and ask to hear your story, then ponder upon what the gods wanted them to learn from the encounter, and how it may affect their thread of life going forward. If someone openly claims to come in peace, it would be dishonorable to turn them away. Even a sworn enemy is left alone when under the banner of peace. 

Society 

When a Norn child comes of age, typically at 10 years old, they are given their first weapon and are trained to bears arms in the defense of their people. At this point they are called a Soldat (soul-dat). As they grow older they learn new skills that will decide their Role in their community. While Norn Roles in game rules terms are the essentially the same as other ancestrys, Norn use their ancient cultural terms that pre-date Tiberian customs.

  • Huscarl: Norn Champion; as a warrior ancestry most Norn becomes Huscarls, seeking glory and honor on the battlefield.
  • Erstcarl: Norn Makers; because their lifestyle is constantly embroiled in conflict, the typical Norn crafter is assumed to be a weaponsmith or an armorer; though these artisans are numerous, Norn craftspeople also make beautiful jewelry, adornments and other wares. If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well.
  • Efencarl: Norn Speaker; prized for their skill at encouraging and directing troops on the battlefield. Some Efencarl dedicate their lives to the telling of tales and songs of great deeds and become Skalds, while those who become Vorda (Priests or Priestesses) are honored for bringing blessings from the gods.
  • Ranncarl: Norn Scholar; Norn despise lies and deception, so Ranncarl are honored as knowers and seekers of truths, and their healing skills are invaluable on the battlefield as they revive troops and keep them fighting longer, making victory more likely.
  • Fyerna: Norn Adept; those with the ability to cast spells become fyerna. These powerful folk are councilors to the rulers of the Norn, but their magic makes them incapable of actually ruling. They and the Vorda, make up the Swordmoot, the advising body of the Lines, and their advice is taken with great weight, coming as it does from the Otherworld.

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